They were picked up by a German car. The soldier sat in the passenger seat while the two of them sat in the back.
The passenger seat was generally considered more susceptible to ambushes from the back seat and there were also blind spots, so Xie Yuchen generally didn’t choose to sit there. But this soldier was obviously calm, which gave off the impression that he felt very safe.
After driving past Saint Isaac’s Cathedral, Xie Yuchen already knew that they weren’t going to the Chinese Embassy. He knew where the embassy was located, and it definitely wasn’t in this direction. But he kept quiet and continued to look at the night scenery passing by outside the window. This place had also been called Leningrad back in 1924. Now, cars were driving across bridges in the heavy snow. When he thought about it, this city was a bit like Venice—it consisted of hundreds of islands and river beaches.
During World War II, it was besieged by the Germans. More than six hundred thousand people froze to death and more than three thousand buildings were reduced to rubble. Now that the city had been rebuilt, all of the historical sites were restored. This nation truly had a strange stubbornness about it.
They finally stopped in front of a villa. After the soldier got out of the car, he was a little shocked to see that the two men were so calm.
“You’re not surprised I didn’t take you to the embassy?”
Neither man spoke. They just looked at him with eyes that seemed to say, “What did you expect? Please don’t act like you’re aggrieved.”
“I thought you would be like Matt Damon when you found out that I was lying to you and hold me hostage and force me to talk.”
Black Glasses patted him, “We’ll help you realize your dream next time.”
“If you brought us here, then you must want us to meet someone,” Xie Yuchen said. “Quit wasting time.”
The soldier quickly nodded.
When the three people went into the villa, they saw an old Russian woman waiting for them at the entrance to a large living room. The interior decoration of the villa was like Saint Isaac’s Cathedral but it was less than two stories high. The old lady was so enthusiastic that she grabbed Xie Yuchen’s hand as soon as he came up.
“I’m Avdotya Yushka, the biggest patron of Saint Isaac’s Cathedral,” she said in very fluent Chinese. “I used a little trick this time in the hopes that I could see you as soon as possible. Please forgive me.”
She was dressed very simply, but the brooch on her chest was an antique that was quite expensive.
Xie Yuchen was a little surprised but still nodded silently. He already knew that a force with some influence over the police station had gotten involved. But when he saw that the car was driving to an affluent area, he immediately knew that the person interested in them at this time was none other than the victim of the Saint Isaac’s Cathedral incident and the target of the harmful feng shui array—the Avdotya family, a local real estate oligarch in St. Petersburg. He just didn’t expect the other party to be fluent in Chinese.
Avdotya Yushka glanced at the Chinese soldier. “This is my personal assistant, Zheng Jingyin. He served as a soldier in China and came to me after he was discharged two years ago. His Russian is very good.”
“Northeast?” Black Glasses asked him.
When Zheng Jingyin nodded, Black Glasses laughed, “It sounds like your parents have high expectations of you (1).”
“Don’t make fun of me.”
“Someone in your family has just died, so this should be a very sad time for you. The person who passed away, was it your—” Xie Yuchen started to ask.
“It was my son. Now I have to take over the family again.” Avdotya Yushka’s expression was very calm, “It’s great that you’ve found the clue. You should know why I’m so anxious to see you.” She suddenly clenched Xie Yuchen’s hand, “Please save our family.”
Xie Yuchen didn’t fully understand Avdotya Yushka’s intentions at this time, but the old lady was totally defenseless. She didn’t even put up any fronts by keeping bodyguards close by, which made him feel at ease.
“Come with me, please.” Avdotya Yushka gave Zheng Jingyin a brief nod, and the latter handed them the coats they had just taken off.
The group of people quickly followed Avdotya Yushka to the villa’s elevator, which took them down to the basement. The heating in the basement had been turned off, all of the windows were open, and every light was on, revealing luxury cars as far as the eye could see. The air was extremely cold.
There was a table in the middle of the basement that was covered with plastic sheeting.
When Avdotya Yushka went over, Zheng Jingyin ripped the plastic sheeting off, revealing the body of a young Chinese man. He was lying in the fetal position and frozen solid.
Xie Yuchen’s heart thumped. He had a hunch that the Avdotya family had used a gang to find the feng shui master responsible and lynched him.
Although he didn’t like evil feng shui masters very much, he didn’t like seeing Chinese people get lynched even more.
“This body was found in the Neva River the day after the church incident. On the afternoon my son died, he froze to death.” Avdotya Yushka obviously knew what Xie Yuchen was thinking when she looked at his face, for she immediately explained, “We didn’t do it. Although we do have some dark history, we stopped that long ago. But it’s not hard to guess. We also think that he has something to do with the church incident.”
The corpse was a seventeen or eighteen year old boy with a young face who was extremely handsome by Chinese standards. His clothes had been removed so that his whole body was exposed, revealing a tattoo. It appeared to be a symbol in the shape of a cicada.
“This child is called Qi Qiu. He’s a Chinese. He was frozen to death and then thrown into the river. The placement of his arms is very strange. You should be able to understand once you look.”
Xie Yuchen certainly understood that this Chinese kid’s hands were frozen like he had been in the middle of performing a Taoist hand seal (2). Xie Yuchen didn’t understand the seal, but it meant that this child was probably related to Taoism somehow.
“When we saw this cicada tattoo, we felt that it had something to do with the church incident, so we transported the body here first. Then we found out that your assistant is also surnamed Qi. Considering how my son died so suddenly, those cicadas and ancient corpses were discovered in the church, and this Chinese corpse suddenly appeared with mysterious Chinese symbols on it, we couldn’t help but think that there’s some connection. Moreover, this isn’t my first son to die.”
Xie Yuchen was taken aback and glanced at Avdotya Yushka. The old woman’s eyes had finally turned red with unshed tears. “I have five children: four boys and one girl. Just this year alone, three boys have died unexpectedly.”
“Are they all in Russia?”
“No, each of them is responsible for local real estate abroad. I still have a young son and daughter left, but my family is about to disappear. Mr. Xie, I know you’re very rich and don’t lack money, but this is a mother’s cry for help. I don’t know what happened or who is hurting us, but please save us.”
Xie Yuchen took a deep breath. He didn’t expect things to be so serious. He looked back at Black Glasses and found that the other man had taken off his gloves and pulled the frozen corpse’s hair aside.
They could see a bunch of needle marks on the back of the corpse’s neck.
“If needles are stabbed into the body near the brain stem, it causes severe pain and destroys one’s will,” Black Glasses said. “Do you remember that I said the other party was coming for me?”
“You’re still insisting on that?”
“This child is from the Mystic Nine’s Qi family. He used the Qimen’s eight-calculation technique known as the ‘Floating Pool’, but in reverse. He was the one who set up the feng shui array in the church. Someone kidnapped him and used needles to force him to create that harmful array. After it was completed, the other party knocked him out and threw him into the ice and snow to freeze to death.”
“You’re saying this child was a feng shui master?”
“This business depends on talent and family heritage. It has nothing to do with age.”
When Xie Yuchen remained silent, Black Glasses continued, “This child was a good person, but he didn’t have any fighting experience. The only thing he could do was take advantage of the Russians who didn’t know Chinese and trick them into putting the newspaper inside the coffin. He hoped that after the feng shui array was broken, someone could clean up the mess so as to prevent more people from getting hurt. At the same time, he wanted to pass this matter onto me through the Xie family.”
Xie Yuchen suddenly remembered something, “Are you really a member of the Qi family? You never give a straight answer.”
“I have a deep relationship with the Qi family, but I’m not a blood relative. Their family has always had a single descendant each generation, so this child should have been the last living descendant. The Qi family has come to an end today.”
Black Glasses touched the child’s hand, and the two of them fell silent. Avdotya Yushka, who was standing next to them, didn’t interrupt and just looked at them quietly.
Black Glasses sighed, “I heard that Ba Ye was a very gentle person. He doesn’t deserve this retribution.” He patted the child’s body, “I’ve received the message you sent. I’ll fulfill your Qi family’s age-old promise. You’ve done a good job.”
With that said, Black Glasses looked at Xie Yuchen, “Whether you take this job on or not, I’ll definitely take it.”
“That’s just a part of it.”
It was very rare for Xie Yuchen to see him reacting like a normal person, but he suddenly realized that this was Black Glasses’ way of expressing his sadness to some extent. “Do you have any clues?”
“This seal has a meaning that represents the East. Do you have any businesses in the East?”
“In Tokyo,” Avdotya Yushka said. “My youngest son is there.”
“The next target is your youngest son,” Black Glasses said. “Can you help me buy a ticket to Tokyo?”
“Two tickets,” Xie Yuchen said. “And I want to discuss the terms with you.”
“No need, we have a plane. We can take off immediately. I’ll go with you. Everything can be discussed on the plane.”
Black Glasses glanced at Xie Yuchen and then smiled as if to say that this kind of thing was familiar.
(1) The characters for Zheng Jingyin’s name are 郑景银. Jingyin (景银) can mean something like shiny money.
(2) Think along the lines of ninjas doing those hand movements in movies to activate their skills (like Naruto or something).
I know as much Russian as I do Chinese (i.e., none) so if there are any Russian readers, I’m sorry if I butchered the old lady’s name. And RIP to the Qi family o(TヘTo)